Friday, 25 August 2023
A British resident of Mijas has made an urgent appeal for people to support a Crowdfunder appeal organised to raise money for her 18-month-old grandson, who is in urgent need of immunotherapy treatment. Elizabeth Parker-Gleeson, who has lived on the Costa del Sol for almost 25 years, told SUR in English that her family has been "devastated" since her grandson Robin was diagnosed earlier this year with high-risk neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer that develops in nerve cells.
Robin's parents, Rachel and Nick Samuel, who live in London, at first believed their son was not well because of teething problems, but after taking him to Great Ormond Street Hospital for an ultrasound scan, medics realised there something wrong, and he was diagnosed with the cancer, which, according to the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG), affects around 100 children in the UK each year.
Robin has since undergone eight cycles of chemotherapy, a stem cell harvest, and a lengthy nine-hour operation to treat the cancer, which started in his right adrenal gland and spread to his abdomen, pelvis, spine, and bone marrow.
The chemotherapy shrunk the tumour by almost 60 per cent and the youngster is effectively cancer-free and in remission from his condition, which carries a 50 per cent chance of survival. However, Elizabeth, who last visited her grandson in London in March, points out that further chemotherapy treatment is "not an option".
"The treatment Robin needs is available in London, but he will first need to have another six months of chemotherapy in order to qualify for it. My daughter is not happy about this, because it will almost certainly make him infertile, and can cause severe liver problems, which will probably lead to other serious health problems throughout his life.
After researching and speaking to doctors, the family decided on taking Robin to Barcelona for a less invasive immunotherapy which would be less damaging for his long-term health.
"There is a groundbreaking therapy treatment available in Barcelona, but it is very expensive, so that's why we are doing everything we can to make sure he receives this vital treatment," Elizabeth explained.
The crowdfunder appeal is currently at 94,000 pounds, and the family need to raise enough money for the first three treatments, which will cost 180,000 pounds. Once Robin has received this treatment, which he must have by the middle of September in order for a chance of survival, he will then need to travel to New York to have the final injection.
"Robin is in remission at the moment, and he is eating well and is putting on weight. He has become a lot more active. When he was having the treatment, he stopped growing, and he stopped trying to crawl and didn't want to play with anything, but now he is showing signs of progress," his grandmother said.
In order to raise the 300,000 pounds needed to finish the whole course of treatment, the family are currently organising charity events in London, while Elizabeth is "doing everything possible" here on the coast to boost the funds in order "to give Robin the best chance of beating the disease".
"We have organised a fundraising event at Churchill's Pub in Los Boliches on Saturday 9 September. We have various activities taking place throughout the afternoon, along with a raffle with numerous prizes donated by local businesses. I am asking people to donate as much or as little money as they can," she said. Elizabeth is "hopeful" of hitting the target, although she says, "We have to try, as we really don't have any other option, because Robin needs this treatment in order to live a healthy life." www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/help-baby-robin-survive-cancer
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